Author Topic: What is a good pick for starting out strumming...  (Read 4954 times)

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  • Guest
What is a good pick for starting out strumming...
« on: February 01, 2007, 08:45:18 pm »

Can you help? I have difficulty holding the pick correctly when strumming, the upstroke sounds harsh.  Should I be loosening my hold on the pick or angling my hand slightly.  Am I going wrong somewhere? Holding the pick as described on the website.  Using a .38mm pick.



  • Guest
What is a good pick for starting out strumming...
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2007, 11:29:24 pm »
In my personal opinion its all in whatever comes natural and sounds good to you.  Not everyone strums the same.  Watch videos of you favorite guitarist.  Like you said, if it doesnt sound good to you, that is a start.   Try loosing your wrist and let the momentum swing it, but not to much.  

You could also try turning on a song you like that has some kind of easy strum patter.  Without playing the chords, just mute the strings.  Try to copy the timing and finding a good smooth rythm.  Thats all I can think of for now, good luck.  Hopefully Justin will come back at you with a better reply.  Just thought I would try.

Offline justinguitar

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What is a good pick for starting out strumming...
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2007, 04:59:20 pm »
As long as you are holding the pick correctly - try these:

1. For strumming use a softer pick - if you play acoustic - get the softest available to learn with.

2. Loosen the grip on th pick so it's as light as possible but still not falling from your fingers.

3. Make sure the pick is hitting the strings at a slight angle so as not to catch.

4. Have your wrist loose - kinda like a flicking motion, flicking water off your fingers but...

5. Make sure your arm is creating the movement and strumming motion, not your hand.

Watch the strumming vids on youtube a few time too!

Hope that helps
"You can get help from teachers, but you are going to have to learn a lot by yourself, sitting alone in a room." Dr. Seuss


  • Guest
What is a good pick for starting out strumming...
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2007, 06:35:14 pm »
Thanks to you both, I appreciate you taking the time to get back to me, all helpful comments.  My strumming is sounding better already.  I was keeping my wrist too tense, so aiming to keep it more relaxed.

Thanks again :D


  • Guest
What is a good pick for starting out strumming...
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2007, 02:30:19 pm »
Just to echo some of what has been said, but if you are learning on an acoustic, which is better to learn on for strumming IMO, go with a thin pick--that was my first thought when I saw the question.  It is less likely to "catch on" or jar the strings when you are starting out, and enable you to therefore keep your strumming fluid.  Secondly, and this is true of a lot of things, use your ears!  Pay attention to the sounds you are making and don't have your brain twisted up too much concentrating on the movement.  You'll learn to make the sounds you want, and how to vary them, accent certain things (ultimately even notes within the chord, playing partial chords at times and things like that--on purpose of course).  Eventually, you can pick out a strumming pattern on a record pretty easily and naturally.

It's sort of like my question on the meloic pattern fingerings.  I have played for awhile, but can't really improvise leads too much (a little but not much) b/c I never really learned the fretboard/scales etc.  So I am trying to learn the melodic patterns in different shapes and thinking, playing this the "right way" using the standard scale fingering is a real drag.  I'll never learn to play "right" if that's what you've got to do.  Well, it turns out you vary the fingering, which makes a lot of sense.  And eventually I hope I will have enough of that muscle and ear memory that I will naturally go where I want to go on the fretboard (after figuring out basically where I want to be/key, etc.).

Similarly, while doing the strumming exercises is great, and you should definitely do them, at some point in your playing you won't be thinking "I am playing this song in a one, two, three and four strumming pattern," you'll just be playing the darn song!  You will know what sounds you can make, and what sounds you want, and you'll play them.  And don't be discouraged if your progress seems slow to you.  Your playing skills will snowball the more you play (much like learning to speak in a way--you are in the first baby sounds stage, but you'll start making small sentences, and then before you know it you're talking).  You'll have a lot of lightbulbs go off ("Oh!  I get it") as you go along.  It will become more and more fun.

Another small bit of advice for sometime down the road: play with others and/or get in a band of folks at a similar or slightly higher skill level.  I found getting in a band when I was a teen was one of the best things to really accelerate my playing.  When you have to start the tune when everyone else does, and do it right for the whole tune--no stopping, you're forced to hone your skills.  Plus it's a blast.

And one more thing, since I am in a long-winded mood.  Take some time when you aren't practicing to just sit with your guitar and make sounds with it.  Just explore the thing and see what it does--it won't bite you if you make it make strange or bad sounds, but you'll find some good ones in there to.  You will probably be noodling around on it and hear a sound you recognize from a song you like.  And the more you technically know from practicing, the more that will happen.

I know I've gone beyond your question, and I hope I am not talking out of turn--I'm sure Justin will tell you if he disagrees with any of this.


  • Guest
What is a good pick for starting out strumming...
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2007, 05:44:54 pm »
Hi folks, absolute beginner here. If I understand this right, the arm should provide the up and down strumming motion and the wrist should control the angle at which the pick hits the strings; kind of like painting a board with a wide paintbrush.

Is this correct?


  • Guest
What is a good pick for starting out strumming...
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2007, 08:47:23 pm »
Thanks for the tips and words of encouragement Blaz, all useful advice.  Strumming is improving.  Firstly I was keeping my wrist to rigid and not using the flicking method Justin described but also I was trying too hard!!! As you say experimenting and actually listening makes a big difference.  I look forward to a day when I strum without thinking too hard!  Justin's you tube videos are  great and helping me a lot.  When I raised my strumming question on the forum I was a bit worried I was asking a silly question, but with the great responses I've had I'm so glad I did.  Good luck with your practice, thanks again for the tips. :D


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